Search for Aoife switches to Monasterevin area

A ‘targeted search’ is currently underway in the Monasterevin area as Gardai continue their investigation into the murder of Laois au pair Aoife Phelan.

A ‘targeted search’ is currently underway in the Monasterevin area as Gardai continue their investigation into the murder of Laois au pair Aoife Phelan.

The M7 Limerick/Dublin Rd is closed northbound between J15 Ballybrittas and J14 Monasterevin and diversions are in place.

Earlier this morning Gardai searching for four months pregnant Aoife conducted a dig on land adjoining a sealed-off property on the Timahoe Road, Portlaoise.

The searches follow the arrest on Monday, November 5 of 24-year-old local man who was known to Aoife on suspicion of her murder on the outskirts of Portlaoise.

And this prompted a search of the Timahoe road overnight as part of the Garda investigation into Aoife’s disappearance.

Forensic officers combed the area for potential evidence and Gardaí also seized a 4x4 vehicle in which they are believed to have discovered some of Aoife’s personal belongings.

Questioning of the suspect recommenced at Portlaoise Garda Station this morning (Tuesday) and forensic Gardaí later began their dig.

A mini-digger was brought onto the land and detectives also used shovels and other equipment on site to assist them with their search.

Gardaí have since commenced what has been described as a targeted search in the Monasterevin area.

Thirty-year old Aoife lived with her parents Michael and Betty in Ballyroan and she is one of twelve children.

She was last seen on Collier’s Lane in Portlaoise on Thursday, October 25 and a number of Garda specialist units have been involved in the extensive investigation to resolve her disappearance.

Door-to-door enquiries were carried out, motorists were quizzed at local checkpoints and the Garda helicopter was also used to assist in the search for Aoife.

While more than three hundred civilian volunteers were involved in a comprehensive search of areas around Portlaoise and Ballyroan on Sunday.